EghtesadOnline: A total of 169 domestically-made or overhauled rolling stock worth 3.52 trillion rials ($13.7 million) joined Iran’s rail fleet on Saturday.
Arak Province’s Wagon Pars Company, Isfahan’s Kowsar Wagon Company, Derakhshan Steel Company, MAPNA Company were the domestic companies engaged in manufacturing the newly-added fleet, IRNA reported.
Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami said on the sidelines of the event that the government banned the import of foreign rail fleet three years ago.
“The manufacture of domestic fleet is on track and a better use of the capacities of local rail companies, as well as finding novel ways to fund our projects can speed up our progress,” he added.
On Nov. 24, Iran unveiled its first domestically-manufactured locomotive after 10 years, called “Pars 33”, and with that Wagon Pars Company, which had ceased manufacturing locomotives around 10 years ago, officially resumed its activity in the field of locomotive production.
According to Mohammad Reza Mokhtari, Wagon Pars CEO, Iran has also succeeded in manufacturing wagon brakes.
“We had managed to manufacture some parts of this system before, but this is the first time that 100% locally-made wagon brakes have been installed on our rail fleet,” he added.
Wagon Pars, launched in 1974 in the city of Arak in Markazi Province, is a subsidiary of the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran and the largest manufacturer of freight, passenger and subway wagons in the Middle East.
“Very soon, we will become self-sufficient in all rail requirements, including passenger wagons and locomotives as well to have a more significant role in the country’s economic developments,” Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami was quoted as saying by the news portal of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.
A total of 788 units of rolling stock, including passenger and cargo wagons as well as locomotives, were manufactured in Iran during the last Iranian year (March 2020-21), showing a 30% increase compared with the year before, according to the minister.
“All the manufactured rolling stock were 100% locally-made. The process will continue in the current year and the years to come and domestic wagon and locomotive construction firms keep receiving orders from rail transportation companies,” he was quoted as saying by News.mrud.ir.
With the aim of reducing road traffic and battling air pollution, the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development has placed the development of Iran’s rail sector on top of its agenda.
Iran’s Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (2017-22) has tasked the government with increasing the share of rail in cargo and passenger transportation from the current 12% and 8% to 30% and 20% respectively by the end of the plan.
Railroad authorities under President Hassan Rouhani’s government set rail infrastructure development as one of its main priorities from the onset. The goal has been pursued during Rouhani’s two consecutive tenures.
Railroads have expanded from 10,223 kilometers in 2013 when he first took office to 11,773 kilometers at present.
The figure is estimated to reach 13,000 kilometers by the end of his second tenure this year, IRNA reported.
The June 18 presidential elections will see a new head of government to replace Hassan Rouhani.
The total number of rail fleet, including locomotives, cargo, passenger and self-propelled wagons, stood at 25,113 in 2013; the figure is expected to reach 29,804 by the end of Rouhani’s second term in office.
According to the IRNA report, the share of rail in transit stood at around 4% in 2013, which has now grown to 9% this year.
IRIR Signs MoU for Railroad Electrification
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways and three rail sector companies for the electrification of Tehran-Garmsar suburban railroad project on Saturday.
The companies involved in the project are Azarkia Tejarat Company, Sina Rail Pars and Pouya Tarabar Pishtaz Company, IRNA reported.
The 114-km suburban railroad from Tehran to the city of Garmsar in Semnan Province was inaugurated on April 6, 2017.
The project to electrify the 430-kilometer-long railroad connecting the city of Garmsar in Semnan Province and the city of Incheh Borun to its northeast in Golestan Province started in 2018, according to technical and infrastructure affairs deputy of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways.
“The railroad, from Garmsar on Tehran–Mashhad main line to Incheh Borun on the border with Turkmenistan, is part of a transit route connecting Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Amirabad Port in Iran’s northern Mazandaran Province. The electrification project will take around four years to complete,” Maziar Yazdani was also quoted as saying by the news portal of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.
The official added that besides the electrification of the route, which will help reduce noise and environmental pollution, and also put an end to liquid fuel consumption, application and positioning of signals and adjustment of tunnel sizes, track laying and telecoms enhancement will be carried out simultaneously.
The project also covers the supply of maintenance vehicles and electric locomotives and extension of technical assistance over the first year of electrification process.
A contract worth €1.2 billion was signed for this project between Iran and Russia in 2015.
“As per the agreement, the electric locomotives will be manufactured inside Iran and in cooperation with Iranian firms,” Mohsen Pourseyyed-Aqaei, former managing director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, said at the time.
The official added that the implementation of the project would send transit capacity to 8 million tons per year. The project is to be financed by Russian banks.
“The state railroad monopoly Russian Railways considers its projects on the electrification of railroad in Iran completely civilian and not subject to US sanctions,” the company's CEO, Oleg Belozerov, said in an interview with Sputnik.
"In Iran, we will be engaged in electrification which is related directly to railway transport. We believe that this is a completely civilian project that does not fall under the [US] sanctions, but we are clarifying it."
Russian Railways completed another similar project in Iran in 2012: the electrification of the Tabriz-Azarshahr rail line.
Iranian rail officials plan to electrify all Iranian railroads by 2025.